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December 16, 1996

UCSC Alumni Association names award winners for 1996

An innovative teacher, a trailblazing scientist, and a supportive employee have won the three top awards given annually by UCSC's Alumni Association.

Carol Freeman, chair of the Writing Program and provost of Cowell College, won the Distinguished Teaching Award for 1996. A dedicated and inspiring teacher, Freeman has delighted in teaching writing to UCSC students and helped determine the curriculum for UC students systemwide.

Geoffrey Marcy, who is affiliated with San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley, won the Alumni Achievement Award. He is part of a team recognized worldwide for its success in finding planets around stars in other solar systems.

Brenda Brown, an academic adviser at Crown College, won the second annual Outstanding Staff Award for her 25 years of caring and personal service to students.

The three were nominated for the awards by students, alumni, faculty, and staff, and were selected by the UCSC Alumni Association Council, the association's governing body.

They will be honored at a ceremony on Saturday, February 1, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. the dining hall of Cowell College; the public is invited. In addition to the awards being presented to Freeman, Marcy, and Brown, twelve students will receive recognition for service to their colleges.

Carol Freeman

[Photo of Carol Freeman] When Carol Freeman came to Santa Cruz with her husband in 1974, she brought with her a Ph.D. in English literature from Yale University and a desire to teach. The job she found here, however, wasn't teaching the literature courses she'd imagined. Instead, UCSC hired her as a lecturer to teach writing and composition--a "temporary" job that became a career calling.

"Before I knew what had happened, I became fascinated with the work that was right under my nose," says Freeman. Over time, she crafted UCSC's current Writing Program and became chair. With its core of twenty lecturers, the program teaches freshman composition courses, college core courses that help students satisfy the "Subject A" writing requirement, and a variety of intermediate and advanced courses. The program also offers courses for graduate students and offers a minor in journalism.

As part of her job, Freeman is a "teacher of teachers," teaching graduate students who in turn often become teachers themselves. She also provides leadership and inspiration to her fellow professors and lecturers.

In letters recommending her for the award, Freeman's students and colleagues described her as creative and passionate, "one of those rare people who make you want to capitalize 'Teacher' in speaking of her."

Freeman also serves as provost of Cowell College, a post which she plans to leave at the end of this academic year, and was a member and chair of the Academic Senate's Committee on Educational Policy (CEP). As such, she helped reinstitute an academic role for UCSC's colleges and worked to get an advance enrollment system adopted.

Last year, she provided leadership for the UC system as chair of the systemwide University CEP. Her service on both committees was exceptional, according to colleagues.

Freeman says she hopes that her receipt of the award will "call attention to all the tremendous hard work and teaching that is being done by lecturers on campus--real, fundamental work that others build on."

Geoffrey Marcy

[Photo of Geoffrey Marcy] A Distinguished University Professor at San Francisco State University and an adjunct professor at UC Berkeley, Marcy embarked on a search for planets outside our solar system while a fellow of the Carnegie Institution in the early 1980s.

"The discovery of other planets was something I had pondered when I was a kid," says Marcy. "As a researcher, I wanted to tackle a question that many children ask: 'Are there planets around the stars I see at night?'"

Marcy helped answer that question in December 1995, when he and his colleague Paul Butler discovered two planets between 40 and 70 light-years from Earth. The planets--70 Virginis b in the constellation Virgo and 47 Ursae Majoris b in the Big Dipper--were only the second and third to be discovered outside our solar system.

Since discovering the two planets, Marcy and Butler have found four more. Their discoveries have earned them recognition as the greatest team of planet hunters in the world and generated comparisons to Copernicus and Columbus.

Because distant planets are far too dim to be seen against the glare of their parent stars, Marcy and Butler find them by monitoring the stars themselves. They look for almost-infinitesimal changes in the light spectra of stars, called Doppler shifts, that can indicate the presence of a planet.

So far, four of the planets Marcy and Butler have identified are similar in size to Jupiter, and two of them are thought to be less massive. From the UCSC-administered Lick Observatory east of San Jose, the pair is now searching for planets similar to Saturn in size. Using the world's largest telescope at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, they are looking for planets as small as Uranus and Neptune.

Brenda Brown

[Photo of Brenda Brown] Even before she officially became an academic adviser two years ago, Brenda Brown stepped out of the jobs she held--as a typist clerk, receptionist, college assistant, and coordinator for advising and records--to solve problems for students and guide them on their paths through UCSC.

As a result, she's built friendships with and earned gratitude from a number of former students who credit her with helping them achieve their academic goals. Students, faculty, and other staff call on her for advice and opinions.

In a letter nominating Brown for the Outstanding Staff Award, a recent graduate wrote that she warned him about his academic failings, forced him to take responsibility for his own college career, and ultimately was instrumental in helping him realize his dream.

"I consider this woman to be my mentor in style and grace," he wrote. "It was her that I felt the most for, as I walked across the quarry stage this past June."

In another letter nominating Brown for the award, a colleague described her as "nurturing a whole generation of students."

When advising students about their college careers--whether about graduation requirements, academic challenges, or even a withdrawal from the university or a return--Brown goes beyond answering questions. "I have approached students with calm concern and have tried to arm them with information and confidence so that each one can succeed on his or her own," she says.

Working with students has also given her career "color and flavor," Brown says. "Each one of them is unique. It has been a satisfying endeavor over the years, watching them grow and prosper, go and come back with their families--it's an evolution I've been happy to be part of. It's a rewarding challenge."

Tickets for the awards ceremony are $12, including lunch. For reservations, call the Alumni Office at 459-2530.

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